Advocates for social justice and equity, environmental protection and public health celebrate passage of Bill C-226, the National Strategy on Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice Act, in the House of Commons.
For immediate release:
Advocates celebrate milestone, call on Senate to prioritize Bill C-226
OTTAWA| TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORY OF THE ALGONQUIN ANISHNAABEG PEOPLE – Advocates for social justice and equity, environmental protection and public health celebrate passage of Bill C-226, the National Strategy on Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice Act, in the House of Commons.
The bill now moves to the Senate. If approved by both chambers of parliament, Bill C-226 will become law, and require the government to examine the links between racialization, socio-economic status and environmental risk, and develop Canada’s first national strategy on environmental racism and environmental justice.
Advocates say this is long overdue. A 2020 report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Toxic Wastes and Human Rights pointed to “a pattern in Canada where marginalized groups, and Indigenous peoples in particular, find themselves on the wrong side of a toxic divide, subject to conditions that would not be acceptable elsewhere in Canada.”
The United States established a program on environmental justice nearly three decades ago, with an executive order issued in 1994. Canada lacks any parallel requirements.
Dr. Ingrid Waldron, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Canadian Coalition for Environmental and Climate Justice (CCECJ), said, “We know the stories about where and how environmental racism exists in Canada. The formal data on these realities is incomplete and therefore there is a lack of understanding about how real this problem is.
Bill C-226 will be a starting point for data to be collected and acted upon. The consequences of inaction on environmental racism would be ongoing negative impacts on people’s health and well-being. The strategy created with Bill C-226 means action to redress environmental racism and action for environmental justice for all.”
The strategy must reflect the needs of the communities and peoples most knowledgeable about the impacts of environmental racism and injustice, whose expertise will contribute to a meaningful framework to prevent further injustice and ill health, say advocates.
Bill C-226 was first introduced by former MP Lenore Zann as Bill C-230 in the last session of Parliament. It was approved by the House of Commons environment committee in June 2021 but then died on the order paper when Parliament dissolved for elections. On February 2, 2022, MP Elizabeth May re-introduced the same legislation as Bill C-226. Government and NDP MPs supported the bill, ensuring its passage in the House of Commons.
The Canadian Coalition for Environment & Climate Justice (CCECJ), supported by a number of civil society groups, now urges the Senate to make time for consideration of Bill C-226 at the earliest opportunity. It is our hope that this bill will become law before the summer so that the important work of developing a national strategy on environmental racism and environmental justice can begin.
Groups supporting this statement:
– 30 –
For more information or a media interview, please contact:
Dr. Ingrid Waldron, Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities and Community Health Project (The ENRICH Project) & Canadian Coalition for Environmental and Climate Justice (CCECJ): [email protected]
Lella Blumer, For Our Kids, [email protected]
While it’s hard to talk about given our economy’s reliance on fossil fuels, we know what’s causing these wildfires and hazy skies. For too long, the oil and gas industry has known about the devastating effects that their emissions would have on the planet and they’ve spent decades working to hide the damage their industry causes from the rest of us.
Parent-led climate action group For Our Kids went to the Ontario Court of Appeal Monday to support youth suing the province over alleged climate inaction.
The lawsuit claims Ontario's plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions is in contravention with Canada’s Paris Agreement commitments to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius — which Ontario pledged to uphold — and constitutes a breach of the Charter rights of the province’s youth, who will suffer the most from climate change.
"Parents will do anything to protect their children," said Whyte. "We'll always show up in that fight."
Toronto/Traditional territories of several First Nations including the Williams Treaties First Nations, Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation - January 15, 2023
For Our Kids will appear as intervenors today in Ontario’s appeal court as part of their leave to intervene in the youth-led climate lawsuit Mathur et. al. v. His Majesty in Right of Ontario. The network of parents and families agree that the Ontario government’s weakened provincial climate targets violate Charter-protected rights to life, liberty, and security of the person.